The Michigan women’s tennis team has enjoyed great success this season, and that success continued Sunday afternoon. The Wolverines faced Notre Dame and took care of business, winning 5-2.
Michigan’s win came in a different way than usual, though. The team has struggled to get contributions from all members this season, but Sunday, the eighth-ranked Wolverines (5-2) received points in singles competition in the fourth and sixth slots, with sophomore Mira Ruder-Hook and freshman Teona Velehorschi’s victories.
“Not everyone’s going to feel great each day or be able to win every day,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “So we just need everybody stepping up.”
The scoring opened with Michigan getting the doubles point. Ruder-Hook and freshman Brienne Minor secured their match shortly after senior Ronit Yurovsky and freshman Kate Fahey won theirs — each match finished 6-4.
The singles competition began, and the Wolverines quickly took control, with Ruder-Hook’s victory sealing the deal. Ruder-Hook dominated the first set, 6-1, but the second set was extremely competitive. The sophomore was pushed to a tiebreak, but was able to eke out a win nonetheless.
“In the tiebreaker, I had to keep calming myself down,” Ruder-Hook said. “But I think those are the matches that are going to prepare us for down the road.”
Michigan won four straight singles matches in the first, third, fourth and sixth slots, jumping out to a 5-0 team lead, but couldn’t pull out the sweep. The Wolverines lost the last two matches of the day in the second and fifth slots.
The biggest surprise came in the final match. Brienne Minor, the No. 14 singles player in the country, showed signs of brilliance at times, especially during her 6-1 victory in the second set, but couldn’t find consistency against Notre Dame’s Monica Robinson. The match ended with three straight double faults from the freshman, and snapped Minor’s eight-match winning streak.
The Wolverines dominated for most of the day, but there is still room for improvement, as they look toward what will be one of their toughest matches of the year.
“We’ve got North Carolina next Saturday, which is not getting easier,” Bernstein said. “So we’re going to work and try to fix some things.”
Michigan’s success has to start somewhere, and it started this weekend. If it can build off the rare well-rounded victory, there is no telling how much it could pay off in the rest of the season.